Mrunal Manmay Dash

The revelation by Biramitrapur MLA, Shankar Oram on the misutilisation of District Mineral Foundation (DMF) funds by the ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD) government has opened the flood gates of accusations and allegations.

Oram alleged that Rs 90 crore from the DMF was spent on the swanky new international hockey stadium being built at Rourkela by bringing a false proposal in his name in the board of trustees meeting of the DMF, Sundargarh held on July 31, 2021.

As per the documented proceedings of the trustee board meeting, “The MLA, Biramitrapur suggested for construction of hockey stadium at Rourkela of International standards and the construction of hockey astro turf training centre.”

However, the MLA, Oram, vehemently denied having brought any such proposal in that meeting. “The Chief Minister announced the constructoon of the stadium and laid the foundation stone. We thought that the State government is sponsoring all of it. But we came to know later that the money from the DMF has been used in its construction and that too without informing me,” said Oram.

“As far as the trustee board meeting is concerned, I had proposed to spend some money under the DMF for repairing roads and supply of drinking water in rural areas, as per the mandate of the DMF,” he added.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) held a press conference on Monday and accused the State government of misutilising the DMF fund for promoting its own election agenda. “Even as the mineral rich Koida’s roads are in a dilapidated condition and there is a shortage of doctors and nurses at the hospital, the diversion of DMF fund for a stadium in an urban area is like cheating the common man,” alleged the BJP.

Speaking at the presser, BJP State President, Sameer Mohanty said, “A total of Rs 13,728 crore was collected as revenue from this area till 2020-21. No tenders have been called in many places and the work order is being given to party members. This is gross misutilisation of money.

However, the BJD refuted all allegations and hit back at the BJP challenging it to propose a CBI enquiry into the matter. “There are many BJP members in the committee including the local MP. I request them to write for a CBI enquiry in the matter. I will welcome the proposal,” said the Chairman of the District Planning Commission and BJD MLA from Rourkela Sarada Nayak.

All being said, the fact remains the Chief Minister’s announcement of the hockey stadium in 2020 and then bringing a false proposal in the local MLA’s name in 2021 to construct a stadium and spend the DMF fund for the same raises many questions on the intent of the State government.

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